APRIL IS JUST AS SURREAL - haiku - Airbag, and Life Under COVID-19

in #musiclast year

Wow. April is just as surreal.

March was simply weird
April is just as surreal
And May? God help us.

You people need to go back to work  cat w fries on head  from Malwina.jpg

Okay, truth be told, my cats have nothing t worry about, as I wouldn't actually do this to them.

The again, this made me laugh out loud, so I'm a bad cat mommy.

Sorry Bear, Musica, and Truffle. I love you, but I'm not perfect. Not that you didn't already know that.

I would LOVE to attribute this meme to its creator, but my sister-in-law sent this to me without attribution, so if anyone knows of the creator, please let me know, so that I can credit it properly.

I've looked, but have so far found nothing indicating the creator.

So April has, thus far, been even weirder than March.

True, we haven't had actual tornadoes this month, though we have had some warnings, but it has still been weird as hell. Or heaven. Or whatever.

Or, okay, maybe just AS weird. I'm willing to compromise.

As I stated before, my life really hasn't changed all that drastically, as I was already working from home, and already sorta kinda isolating in place just by virtue of being self-employed.

At the same time, YIKES!!!

In our nearest town, Sparta, Tennessee, about half the people I see out and about are wearing masks.

This is not because the unmasked don't care, but simply because, thanks to the incompetence and inaction of our federal government, they don't have access to masks.

And it would be really nice if our government, as governments in the past, actually owned up to their failings and apologized for dropping the ball.

But this is the Trump government. Mistakes are NEVER acknowledged, even when glaringly apparent.

This is the "It's NEVER our fault" government, even when, equally glaringly, it is frequently, obviously, entirely their fault,

I pray that it comes home to roost in a karmic way. Enough said.

Meanwhile, those of us who DO take responsibility for our own lives, are left to flounder, hoping against hope that our Grifter-in-Chief doesn't manage to deep-six the entire government while he abdicates any and all responsible decision-making.

I wasn't a great fan of Obama, while he was in office, but I readily admit that I miss him being president.

It was lovely having a president who spoke in complete, coherent sentences, using logic and reason, without constantly seeking praise at inappropriate moments.

I hope that one day we manage to bring that back once again. It will certainly, and clearly, never happen under Trump.

In our world, the good thing is that, with Marek being a truck driver, his job is secure, as trucking is definitely an essential business enterprise.

The bad thing is that, with him being a truck driver, he is rarely home, and almost never for long periods.

Six weeks prior to his birthday, he put in a request for that weekend off, which under normal circumstances would be a given.

Not, however, during coronavirus.

Even with six weeks notice, he didn't get home until days after his birthday, which grated on him, and naturally he had to leave before his name day.

For the record, in Poland, which is a predominantly Catholic country, your name day is the feast day of the saint for whom you were named, and is celebrated far more than your birthday.

In the past several years, he has virtually never been home for his name day. We have spent birthdays, anniversaries, and even Christmas apart, and all for what?

Oh, yeah, A paycheck. Screw that.

Meanwhile, we have both been listening to the band Airbag, from Norway, which I'm happy to say I came across in a progressive rock group on Facebook, which is one of the few reasons why I'm still on Facebook in the first place.

A fellow member of the group recommended Airbag, and linked a video of theirs. I loved it enough that I promptly sent it to my husband, knowing that he would love them as well, which he did.

Here is his favorite song from their first album, "Steal My Soul." Enjoy.

He promptly sought out their first three albums, and fell in love with them completely, sharing the albums with me when he returned home. And I've been listening to them ever since.

According to one site I found, the band started in 1994, when several members, then in high school, saw Pink Floyd live on their "Division Bell" tour. And a legend was born.

So are they Pink Floyd reborn?

Not exactly, though I can say without question that guitarist Bjørn Riis, who is also the backing vocalist and primary songwriter, is seriously channeling David Gilmour in his playing.

His guitar work has more than once brought me to tears.

It also interested me to learn that all five (now four) members of the band are also members of the band "The Pink Floyd Experience," which shouldn't be all that surprising in context.

More to the point, for myself, having gone through serious withdrawal from British band Porcupine Tree, as their last album was released in 2011, is that Airbag often channels PT and Steven Wilson, again, often in the guitars of Bjørn Riis, who has clearly mastered that sound.

And so, having at this point their first three albums, I finally listened to the end of the third album, "The Greatest Show on Earth," culminating with the stellar "Surveillance (Part 2-3)," all 16:45 of it; which is absolutely amazingly gorgeous, from beginning to end, especially the Porcupine Tree homage at around 8:55.

What can I say? I'm a true prog rock junkie, and concept albums were always my favorites growing up. I'll never stop loving them.

For Marek, the band reminds him most of progressive metal band Green Carnation, also of Norway, also a band he absolutely loves. The vocals by Asle Tostrup, especially, remind him of the lead singer of Green Carnation, Kjetil Nordhus.

For me, the vocals remind me more of Bruce Soord, of British progressive rock band The Pineapple Thief, whereas the guitars remind me alternately of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd; Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, no-man, and so many more projects; Piotr Grudzienski and Mariusz Duda of Riverside, and Mariusz Duda again with Lunatic Soul.

All of which, I might add, are also strongly influenced by Pink Floyd, and the guitar work of David Gilmour.

Airbag's first three studio albums are Identity (2009), All Right Removed (2011), and The Greatest Show on Earth (2013), all of which I can recommend highly.

The musicianship and production values on all three albums are excellent, and if you are into melodic melancholic rock, it's hard to go wrong. The music and lyrics, sung in English, are intelligent, insightful, moving, and among the very best I've heard in recent years.

According to the website for their fourth album, Disconnected (2016), "Airbag’s music is perhaps best described as scenic, epic rock or, as legendary Classic Rock Magazine said: 'Reminiscent of a late-nite, laid-back Pink Floyd.'"

I've just ordered their fourth album, 2016's "Disconnected," which has yet to arrive, but I am very much looking forward to it, as is Marek.

And their fifth album, "A Day at the Beach," is due for release on 19 June 2020. Needless to say we'll be adding that to our collection as well.

Green Carnation has had a really interesting progression to their music, starting out in 1990 as death metal, and getting progressively less heavy and more melodic and atmospheric with each release, until in 2006 they released the aptly titled "Acoustic Verses," which is my personal favorite of them all, with my favorite song being "The Burden is Mine.". Enjoy.

In February 2007, the band recorded their second DVD, "A Night Under the Dam," which is a singularly beautiful concert DVD, in which they played the "Acoustic Verses" album in its entirety, along with songs from their back catalogue.

The band split up in August 2007, following a disastrous American tour, in which the band lost both a great deal of money and the motivation to continue.

Ultimately, they staged a reunion in 2014, for a second version of "A Night Under the Dam," announcing that they were once again available for festivals and shows.

And now, finally, Green Carnation is coming out with a long awaited new album as well, their first studio album in fourteen years, Leaves of Yesteryear, which is due out on 8 May 2020.

I have no doubt that it will be well worth the wait. Should be interesting.

Stay safe and well, @everyone. We're all in this together.

The meme and videos I am sharing herein are not my property and all rights belong to their creators.

I am sharing them in the interest of introducing people to a funny idea, along with some truly fabulous music that they may not have had occasion to hear before.

I dearly hope that at least some will buy the music and support the bands so that they can continue to make wonderful music for many years to come.

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